Charter Schools Efforts Play Out In Courts

Dan Walters, the Sacramento Bee columnist who is picked up by other papers statewide, has noted the ongoing school reform battles that usually end up in civil court. In the context of state officials handing off to local jurisdictions, he noted that they “… haven’t succeeded in persuading judges that they can wash their hands of responsibility, most recently in a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of high-risk students, alleging that they hadn’t received the attention state and federal law require.”
“A state cannot abdicate its supervisory responsibilities by ignoring credible evidence of persistent or significant district noncompliance,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant declared in a recent 45-page decision. “If districts fail to provide services and the state has notice of this failure, the state has a duty … to take reasonable action.”
Faced with that, writes Walters, state officials backed down and agreed to monitor what districts are doing for high-risk kids. The writer does not make this point, but the column offers an example of how much civil courts have become policy-setting bodies. Read the story here.